The Community Education/Outreach Unit was developed to benefit the community in a number of different areas. Law enforcement has a significant, but by no means solo, part to play in controlling, reducing and preventing crime. If there is to be a decline in crime, the community and law enforcement must join together in an effort toward crime reduction. With this in mind, the West Des Moines Police Department has set out to educate and assist the community in measures that can be taken to reduce the opportunity for crime to occur. For a criminal act to be committed, three conditions must exist: DESIRE to commit the crime, ABILITY to commit the crime and the OPPORTUNITY to carry it out.

The Community Education/Outreach Unit has developed and is continuously improving programs to assist with this mission. Some of the programs can be categorized into the following areas;

Business Crime Prevention: Robbery and Burglary Prevention, Financial Crimes related to Checks, Credit Cards, Fraud and Scams, Shoplifting and Internal Theft Related Crimes, CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design), Workplace Violence, Commercial Surveys and Assessments, Training in Intervention ProcedureS (T.I.P.S.)

Neighborhood and Community Programs: Crime Free Neighborhoods, Crime Free Multi-housing Program, Operation ID, Park Watch, Home Security, Residential Surveys and Assessments, National Night Out.

School and Youth Related Programs: Code 411, Planet 7, Safety Town, Bike Safety and Rodeo’s, Kid’s ID, Internet Safety for Kids, Drug Awareness, Daycare and Pre-school Programs

Adult Programs: Personal Safety, Identity Theft, Drug Identification for Parents

Special Events: National Police Week, Learnapolooza, Health and Safety Fairs, Career Fairs

Kids Coloring Book Pages: Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4

Code 411 is a substance abuse, violence prevention and internet safety program that the West Des Moines Police Department provides to the students of West Des Moines in the 2nd, 5th/6th, 7th, and 9th grades.

Code 411 was initially developed for the 7th grade students at Stilwell Junior High in 2003. The 7th grade curriculum is a three week program that addresses the effects and consequences of tobacco, alcohol, and various drugs.

In 2007, the West Des Moines Police Department in partnership with the Clive Police Department and the West Des Moines Community Schools developed a new substance abuse, violence prevention and internet safety program. This program focuses on the understanding of the effects on the body from tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, inhalants, prescription and over-the-counter drugs. We discuss the laws of under age use and possession. Code 411 (5th/6th grade) also covers bullying and harassment and how it effects people as well as, how someone can get arrested for harassing another individual.

The program addresses various crimes that are common to teenagers, such as criminal mischief/vandalism, shoplifting, assault, burglary and a variety of other crimes. The last two lessons of the program focus on internet safety. We discuss the dangers of the internet, instant messaging, texting messages, chat rooms, MySpace, and Facebook. We also cover the dangers of strangers on the internet and not providing your personal information to someone you don’t know.

The 9th grade students at Valley Southwoods Freshman High School will benefit from the Code 411 program also. This level of the program addresses the teenage use of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana. The students learn about the health effects from substance abuse through videos and worksheets and learn about the laws associated with these substances through discussions with the Officer. Since the 9th grade students will be driving soon or going through driver’s education, the Officer discusses the important points of the Iowa Graduated driver’s license and hazards of driving while intoxicated and also distracted driving. The program at this grade level is a four week program that is conducted during the student’s gym classes.

PLANET 7 is a five-day program for students about to enter junior high. The program includes time management and study skills presentations, peer pressure and self esteem, community service project, tours of the schools and a community service learning, and a mystery hunt at your new school! Also part of the program includes field trips to Skate West, Stealer Olympic Games and Friday’s trip to World’s of Fun in Kansas City, MO.  PLANET 7 is facilitated by police officers, teachers, and West Des Moines  Parks and Recreation program supervisors.

Safety Town cartoonSafety Town is a comprehensive educational program introducing safety awareness and prevention procedures for kids about to start kindergarten. The Safety Town program features safety awareness in the home, in traffic, on a school bus, with strangers, and with poisons. The activities include fun in the Safety Town village, a trip to the WDM Law Enforcement Center and the Fire Station, Mr. “Yuk” presentation, and  a graduation ceremony.  Safety Town is facilitated by police officers and West Des Moines teachers.

Safety Town

Crime Free Neighborhoods Program  The West Des Moines Police Department and numerous neighborhoods of West Des Moines are actively involved in the Crime Free Neighborhood Program. We want to make West Des Moines as safe as possible, but can’t do it alone. Consider this: criminals don’t like this program because they realize

  • Neighbors know each other and are likely to call the police when they see suspicious activity.
  • Individuals have joined Operation Identification by recording and engraving valuable property.
  • Many homeowners have improved the security of their home.

For more information, please contact the West Des Moines Police Department-Community Education/Outreach Unit at 515-222-3333.

Operation ID
T.V.s, stereos, tools, computers, and other household items have become favorite targets of thieves. To combat the problem, a program was developed called OPERATION ID. An individual ID number is composed of 10 characters telling the state and county in which you live as well as the first letter of your last name. For example:

IA - Iowa
077 - Polk County
0306D - Indicates you are the 306th individual with the last name beginning with “D”

This coding system enables law enforcement officials anywhere in the United States to prove theft and to trace stolen items back to their rightful owner.

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)
This program operates on the general premise that the man-made and natural environments can play roles in reducing the likelihood of crime in any given area. It incorporates three general guidelines: access control, natural surveillance and defensible space (or territoriality). CPTED’s goal is to prevent crime through designing a physical environment that positively influences human behavior.


  • Park in well lighted and high traffic areas
  • Avoid parking in isolated areas
  • Be alert
  • Lock your car at all times
  • Don’t leave valuable inside your car; lock them in the trunk
  • Have your keys ready in hand when approaching your car and look inside your car before you get in
  • Use your senses-sight, hearing, and smell.
  • As always, stay alert to your surroundings


  • Install quality doorlocks and deadbolts on all outside doors
  • Light possible points of entry to deter thieves
  • Secure utility sheds with a weather-resistant padlock and hasp
  • Lock unattended bikes and equipment to an immovable object
  • Lock gates with padlocks and/or chains

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